A Matador’s Mistress is a film set in 1940s Spain, where the love between Manolete (a famous bullfighter, played by Adrian Brody) and Lupe Sino (an actress with a fiery political streak, played by Penelope Cruz) is whipped up into a tremendous scandal. The film is important also in that it was actually finished in 2005, but the political content of the title made it a difficult commodity to successfully market. Xenon picked the film up this year and is giving it the love it needs.
A Matador’s Mistress has a number of things going for it. The amount of detail that is given to ensuring that dress, sets, and the overall feel of the film cannot be denied. The roles turned in by Brody, Cruz, and all other faces makes this story a must-have. However, the score created for A Matador’s Mistress should not be slept on. The pieces, committed to the film by Dan Jones and Gabriel Yared, establish a current and exciting feel based off the timeframe in which the film was set. This score caresses and highlights the action in the film perfectly without taking any attention away from it.
While I was unfamiliar with the real life events that are described in A Matador’s Mistress, I feel that this little note in history should be researched in a more substantive (perhaps a documentary) way. The film ends on a down note, but it is the proper ending – Manolete flamed out in a tremendous fashion, well before eir looks, passion, or death-defying spirit could begin to falter. It makes the love that is shared between Manolete and Lupe Sino that much more poignant – what could have happened if Manolete was able to live to a ripe old age?
A Matador’s Mistress (DVD) / 2011 Xenon / 92 Minutes / http://www.xenonpictures.com